Post-Valentine's, Preferably French
I would like to take my partner out for a nice post-Valentine's day dinner--we tend to 'celebrate' it a few days later to avoid the crowds. We live in the Annex, and although we are not food buffs by any stretch, we used to enjoy the occasional dinner at Goldfish and Arlequin--both are gone now. The requirements: above decent food, cosy with acceptable privacy (hard to enjoy your duck confit while rubbing elbows with a stranger), good ambiance. I'd also very much prefer a place in or close to the neighbourhood.
I've been surfing this site and some others since yesterday, and do not seem to be able to find a place that fits the bill. Here's what I've found so far:
Batifole: seems nice, but way out at the east end; transportation would be a problem.
La Palette: close enough, but gets mixed reviews lately, and may we expect to be too squished?
Cantine: does not look like anything special, mixed menu, but close enough; a place to fall back on if nothing works out?
Jacques Bistro: could not find much on this; excellent location for us, though.
Le Paradis: I've been put off by remarks on service and ambiance.
Le Select, Le Saint Tropez etc.: they sound too touristy...worth my while and money?
By the way, I would really like to go to Gallery Grill at Hart House---if only they served dinner! Not cosy, but I was impressed with the overall environment, the service and the food in the couple of times I had lunch there...
So, what do you suggest? I am thinking perhaps an early Sunday night dinner, but can settle for a Monday arrangement if that could guarantee some privacy in a smallish place...
Thanks in advance.
Tati is a new bistro in your area (where Kensington Kitchen used to be). I haven't been, but reports seem to be good, including this recent review. There is mention of some close seating, but good timing may solve your problem.
I do like Le Select.
I too live in the Annex....I really like Jacque's but have only gone for lunch...it is a little crowded but to me it's a slice of 'Paris" in Toronto...I also like Cantine but it can be uneven foodwise...good to fall back on for sure. Avoid Le Paradis ...as many, many CH's have posted...if you like 'attitude' with your dinner that's your place! Have heard only great things about the new place where Arlequin used to be (L'Unitas??) but understand it's very difficult to get in since it's become the 'toast'of the annex...
re: Splendid Wine Snob
Yes, indeed. The problem is that people in Toronto really don't understand what a French Bistro is supposed to be.
You don't see large spacious tables in French Bistrots in France. It's a BISTRO
The only option then to qualify a more spacious setting would be Le Select which is not in the neighbourhood.
Batifole was one of my most wonderfully surprising meals last year. The flavours were superb for me. So many flavours that I couldn't pinpoint - don't let the distance put you off. I would not describe the interior as cosy, so you may wish to keep it for another time.
Actually had dinner last night at Le Select. Not sure what struck you as touristy - it really is a very comfortable, interesting space. The food was spectacular. Of particular note for me was the endive salad as appetizer and the lemon tart for dessert. Possibly the best lemon tart I've ever had. Service was friendly and helpful. You would need to request a booth for the reservation. We sat up front in the bar area which is a little more densely packed.
Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner might seem an unusual suggestion but the food is excellent, the wine pairings perfect and the tables are really far apart. I had an intense involved conversation with a friend there and never noticed anyone else or overhead any other conversations. It felt totally private even though the room was full. They serve a $60 prix fixe on Friday nights, which granted, may be too late to get a reservation for tonight.
Tonight's menu -
Jamie Kennedy Gardiner
111 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S, CA
My experience at Jamie at the Gardiner was totally the opposite......unless they.ve changed things was there in Sept/07....cool cavernous room....cement and glass...heard every word at tables at either side...food was good not spectacular.... his frites are always great...The Corner House might work....although not exactly French Bistro....for that I like Le Select.....Miranda